Extended play 1.24.07

by Jordan Green

I’ve long thought that a strong indigenous music scene at the foot of North Carolina’s Appalachian slope – that’s basically the meaning of the French word “piedmont” - should reflect the raw beauty of mountain string-band music, the currents of blues and gospel up and down the Atlantic seaboard and their funky derivations, and a mélange of international sounds that would represent our state’s growing immigrant communities.

The lineup of touring acts and local toilers for this weekend goes partway toward fulfilling that promise, with a dash of hard rock and hip hop thrown in for good measure.

Thursday brings Brooklyn’s Andy Friedman & the Other Failures to the Garage. Friedman comes across in his music as a worldly, knowing barroom poet steeped in the hard-core balladry of Hank Williams and Jimmy Rodgers.

The big-ticket rock event in Greensboro on Friday is a show headlined by Army of Anyone (a band that includes members of Filter and Stone Temple Pilot, though not Scott Weiland, I’m afraid) at the N Club. The package show also includes Hurt, Dropping Daylight and Neurosonic. Across town at the Greensboro Coliseum the FM hip-hop station 102 JAMZ will be celebrating its birthday, with the Mix Squad and the JAMZ Fam hosting.

On the world beat, toaster Pato Banto from England’s midlands appears at Ziggy’s in Winston-Salem on Friday. A side member of the English Beat and onetime spokesman for Peter Gabriel’s World Of Music and Dance organization, Banton has a two-decade reggae career under his belt.

The same night finds Scott Miller gracing the stage at the Garage. An alt-country hero who surfaced with Knoxville’s V-Roys, the first band signed to Steve Earle’s E2 label, Miller has more recently recorded with the Commonwealth for Sugar Hill Records, which recently pulled up stakes and relocated from Durham to Nashville.

Back in Greensboro, Kris Ferris and Bryan “Songbear” Smith will share the bill at the Flatiron. We’ve seen Ferris a couple times at our after-work bar, McPherson’s, and we know Songbear as a bus driver for the Greensboro Transit Authority and all-around good guy from Eden. Also on Friday, Lynn Koonce performs at Café Nouveau, and Sugar Grove, NC mandolinist Mark Schimick plays the Blind Tiger.

Saturday is less packed, but the quality leaves nothing to be desired. “Sometimes political, sometimes spiritual, sometimes sexed to the nth degree” is the description provided for Florida’s Soular System, who will appear at the Blind Tiger. Over in Winston-Salem, Cajun rockers Cowboy Mouth and Ivan Neville’s Dumpstafunk – he the progeny of vocalist Aaron – will be at Ziggy’s. Raleigh’s Patty Hurst Shifter plays with Winston-Salem’s own Bo Stevens at the Garage.

And while the following event doesn’t quite fit our theme, we would be remiss to not direct your attention to a concert by organist Todd Wilson at Christ United Methodist Church in Greensboro on Friday. He’s the chairman of the organ department at the Cleveland Institute of Music, so chances are he knows what he’s doing.